Daily Israel Report

Women's Leader: Complaint against Minister Shalom Smells Fishy

Emunah head questions why complainant waited 15 years to lodge complaint - at the same time as presidential candidacy announced.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/25/2014, 8:01 AM

Minister Silvan Shalom
Minister Silvan Shalom
Flash 90

Liora Minka, who heads the religious-Zionist women's group Emunah, penned an article Tuesday in Yisrael Hayom in which she opined that the complaint about alleged sexual harassment filed against Minister Silvan Shalom is a manipulative one.

While sexual harassment is a serious crime that needs to be rooted out of society, wrote Minka, “when a complaint about such harassment is pulled out of the attic after 15 or 20 years – it needs to go back [to the attic]. Certainly, when one can clearly discern that the timing is not a coincidence, and smell the acrid odor of manipulation, or discover quite easily that there are traces of connivance and a vested interest.”

"Too many times, in recent years, the press has danced on the blood of public servants or senior officers or innocent civilians,” Minka continued – without naming names. “While it is true that the media did not initiate the 'party', it is almost always the central venue and without it, there is no somoke, no fire, and no juicy story.”

False accusations are a double edged sword, she warned, and allowing anonymous rumors to destroy people could ultimately hurt women.

The accusations against Minister Silvan Shalom were published in an apparently coordinated fashion by members of the Female Reporters Cell, a group that was founded by a journalist with strong ties to the radical New Israel Fund. They were made public just as Shalom was about to announce his candidacy for the office of President.

It is rare for leaders within Israel's women's movement to come out unequivocally against the unfettered use of sexual complaints, and Minka's article may be a sign of growing dissent within the ranks of the movement, against the ideological leadership of radical organizations sponsored by the New Israel Fund, and toward greater independence of the religious women's groups.